There’s something about getting to the end of a tough class and feeling the vibe in the room where everyone is half amazed that they got through the class and half absolutely loving it. Know what I’m talking about? Then you must have been to F45.

I tried out a class at F45 Farringdon, a small space in a basement close to Farringdon Station that has a large studio, bright reception area and small but well-stocked changing rooms. The welcome that I got at 07:30 in the morning before the Panthers class was friendly and set me up perfectly for the class.

Panthers consists of 14 stations with a mix of cardio and strength exercises including burpees, chest press and deadlifts. One of the things that sets F45 apart from other studios is how accessible it is because all of the exercises are shown on screens around the room as well as the work and rest periods (60 seconds of work and 20 seconds of rest for this particular class).

F45 2-3-16-39_Fotor

There were two instructors in the room who were running around making sure that everyone’s technique was on point which was the best attention I’ve ever seen in a large class format. Once one of the instructors knew about my lower back issues he kept coming over and suggesting ways that I could modify certain exercises. He also spotted me when I got a bit cocky on the chest press and helped me push through to the end of the work period.


For me, as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor, one of the hardest things when I’m teaching a big group is how tricky it is to make sure everyone is doing the exercise correctly and not putting themselves at risk of injury. In other studios I’ve seen participants doing things that make me wince but because the instructor has so many other people to watch (or because the studio is so dark…) they often miss technique cues. At F45 the focus is not on putting people in a dark room with flashing lights and giving them the transcendental experience like other studios, it’s just about giving people a bloody good workout and looking after their bodies.

Overall it’s one of the best classes I’ve been to because of the mix of strength and cardio exercises, the accessibility and the personal attention that the instructors gave to all of the participants. I’m just gutted that after that first class I became ill and couldn’t use the rest of my two week trial! There are F45 studios all over London with two new ones opening up in Old Street and Stratford any day now. You can get your own 2-week trial on their website, I’d highly recommend giving it a go and let me know how you get on.


Last week was my final session of one-on-one swimming lessons with Swimming Nature and I’m so sad it’s over! You can read all about my first lesson here.

I went into these sessions knowing that I’m a fairly confident swimmer and I’m very comfortable in the water so I was excited to work on my technique and have my first swimming lessons as an adult.


In my second lesson we worked further on my front crawl technique by trying to slow down my arms, the result of which is that I felt a lot less panicked when swimming front crawl. I’ve mentioned before that I felt I could swim breakstroke for hours and now my front crawl is approaching the same calmness and sustainability as breastroke. Mark also tweaked my breasktroke technique, encouraging me to look at Adam Peaty’s body position in the water to find a more streamlined way of moving. The best part of that session was learning how to tumble turn properly! I’ve only ever done them on my own before as a kid so it was great to be taught the proper technique using Fergus the toy monkey (not as weird as that sounds, trust me).


In the third session we continued working on my arm position for front crawl to get the coveted ‘high elbow’ which creates an efficient and beautiful stroke. I’m not sure I felt so beautiful as I swam but I could definitely feel the advantage in the efficiency. We tested it by timing the tempo of my stroke (2.6 seconds per cycle) and then playing with the speed of the length by just adjusting the technique and body position. My front crawl length time dropped from 21 seconds down to 16 seconds, a huge difference!

My final session was focused on learning the butterfly stroke, something that I’ve never been taught before. Mark broke it down to its parts before we put it all together and suddenly it didn’t seem quite so scary or difficult. My butterfly certainly needs a lot of work but the basics are there. We finished off by swimming a medley, one length each of butterfly, back stroke, breastroke and front crawl. I finished on a massive high feeling really proud with how much I’ve learned and how much happier I feel in my front crawl.


I would highly recommend Swimming Nature and specifically Mark at Fitness First Highbury for the simple teaching methods, confidence-boosting feedback and in-water demonstrations that I haven’t seen other places offering. The focus with Swimming Nature is learning how to swim beautifully and while I’m not sure my strokes are beautiful quite yet, I definitely feel happy doing them. I came away from each session feeling positive and full of energy and if there’s one suggestion I’d make, it’s that if you book a session, splash out (sorry) for the full 60 minute session. 30 minutes flies by too quickly and I was left wanting more each time.

Prices for the 60 minute one-on-one sessions are £64 which is on a par with personal training sessions, essentially what you’re getting but just in the water!

You can find out more info on Swimming Nature and book sessions here


Every so often I get the opportunity to try something new that fills me with excitement (and just a tiny bit of nerves) and last weekend was one of them. I was invited by Up&Go UK to the start of their dawn breakers series to celebrate what you can do when you can grab your breakfast to go.

I’ve never done parkour before so when I saw that we’d be trying it I was far too excited, I’ve always wanted to give it a go. We went to the Chainstore Gym which is in a little wharf directly over the river from the O2 arena (or Millennium Dome if you remember when it was called that). With lovely views over the river and a cute little cafe it was a gem in a confusing area of dual carriageways.

After an introduction to Up&Go and parkour we got stuck into a warm-up consisting of stretches, movement and learning how to jump with soft landings on the balls of our feet. We then moved into some of the fundamental moves of parkour such as how to vault over and through boxes and rails in all sorts of different ways.

All of these moves got strung together at the end for a ‘route’ or ‘flow’ which was totally exhilarating! You almost forget that it’s a workout until you’re dripping in sweat because you’re constantly looking for the next obstacle. The hardest thing for me to get into my brain was not to put my knees down on any surface. Apparently the secret to Parkour is to use areas of your body that have plenty of padding and shock-absorption i.e. your feet, hands, bum and back if needed.

We then headed outside to try some wall runs (yes, literally trying to run up a 9 foot wall) and learn some new vaults over some raised railings.  After a good stretch and some photo opps I headed for lunch with Carly (Project Hot B*tch) and we compared our bruises, scrapes and scratches whilst absolutely buzzing about what we’d just learnt.

The idea of Up&Go is that it’s a carbohydrate-filled (from wholegrain oat flour) breakfast drink to fuel your morning workout if you don’t have time to make something. With just over 200 calories per 330ml carton it’s definitely a pre-breakfast snack to keep you going until after a workout but with 28.5g of carbs it’s perfect to fuel your muscles. The 12.8g of protein from skimmed milk is also a useful boost for your muscles to help maintain them during your workout. It comes in 3 flavours, banana & honey, chocolate and vanilla (my fave because it tastes like custard) so there’s something for everyone. You can try them at Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsburys, Asda, Co-op, WH Smith, One Stop and Ocado.


Disclaimer: I was invited to this event for free but all opinions are my own as always


What’s the first thing you think of when going on holiday, especially when you’re going on your honeymoon? Bikinis, suncream, local food, spinning…. Ok, so maybe you’re not quite like me but when I travel I like to sample the fitness scene, mostly to try and make more room for all of the delicious food that I know I’ll be eating.

The only spin studio in Buenos Aires I could find (and incidentally, it seemed, the only spin studio in Buenos Aires) was Rock Cycle so I booked in for a class on our second morning in Argentina and hoped for the best.

It’s situated in Palermo Hollywood, a delightfully sunny 8 minute walk from where we were staying so off I trotted, leaving long-suffering new-husband in bed. The studio is bright and inviting and very much reminiscent of the Soul Cycle studio I visited in New York. The welcome was friendly and between us we spoke just enough English and Spanish to get me set up.

The studio itself was dark with about 40 bikes in, all facing the instructor who was raised up on a stage. Along the front of the stage were candles similar to those you might find in Boom Cycle in London. The facilities were lovely and clean with lockers to live all of your valuables in. They also sell a cool range of clothing and I might have fallen in love with a vest that found its way into my already full suitcase.

The instructor spoke no English (nor did I expect her to) but from the moment the lights went down in the studio it didn’t matter. Her energy and demonstrations went through any language barrier and I found myself swept along with the music.

The style of class was very much like Soul Cycle or Psycle in London so there was a lot of moving around on the bike including plenty of press ups which meant my triceps were suitable sore the next day. Over the course of 45 minutes we went through a number of Latin-inspired tracks with banging beats so even though I didn’t know the music the energy was infectious. We did a lot of sprints and double time cycling with only a couple of heavy resistance tracks which was a bit of a shame because I do like to crank the resistance up and let my legs burn in a spin class.

The penultimate track was one with hand weights to work out our shoulders, backs, biceps and triceps and a Latin remix of the Pink Panther theme tune did wonders to take my mind off the crazy muscle burn that I had going on.

As the class ended there was much whooping and deep breathing going on as we all caught our breath and stretched out. All in all, it was a really good class and if you’re used to spinning studios such as the few that I’ve mentioned above then you won’t have any problems not speaking Spanish as it’s very similar to those. Definitely go and try it if you’re in that part of the world!


*Disclaimer: I was offered a free class in return for a review. As always, views are my own and I was not paid for this review*



A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to try out the new Best’s Cycle studio and loved it so I wanted to try out the Bootcamp class too. The studio, down next to Embankment station, is beautiful with very smart changing rooms including a cold air vent for after the sweaty classes and l’Occitane toiletries. I’m such a sucker for posh toiletries…

The Bootcamp studio is huge with three sections of treadmills and custom floor benches. In the middle of the studio are long shelves with lots of different weights of kettlebells, dumbbells and medicine balls so there’s always an option to suit everyone.


Now, I’ve got to be honest. I’m not a fan of this format of class. I hate running on treadmills and I dread each interval but to progress and get better you’ve got to put yourself out of your comfort zone. This was so far outside of my comfort zone.


The instructor showed me and a few other newbies around the studio and explained what was coming up and we got started. In the hour we did three 6 minute sections on the treadmills incorporating sprints on the flat, uphill and downhill. Yep, downhill. On a treadmill.

We also did three sections on the floor covering our whole bodies with exercises like weighted overhead lunges, step ups, Russian twists and burpees. By the time the class ended I was very sweaty, my muscles were sore and I was a bit shell-shocked

So here’s the good:

– The equipment is beautiful, clean and hi-tech (I mean, downhill treadmills?! Mind blown)

– The studio is lovely, especially the showers, and there’s a smoothie bar that makes delicious drinks

– The class will challenge you and targets the whole body so you can get a brilliant workout in 50 minutes

– My glutes, abs, shoulders and legs felt sore the day after which is a sure sign of an effective workout


And here’s the not so good:

– I personally don’t like being called out by my name over the mic if I’m running slower because even running on a treadmill for 6 minutes at a speed of 10 is an achievement for me at the moment

– I was having a few issues with my lower back during the class caused by a tweak in the gym the other day and despite having to stop and stretch it out I wasn’t given any modifications, I was just told I need to work on my core


Overall I would recommend the class if you like a challenge and you want an effective whole-body and cardio workout in under an hour. Just make sure you know what you’re letting yourself in for and tell the instructor before the class if you have any injuries, even if they don’t ask.


You know those workouts when sweat is dripping off your eyelashes, off the ends of your hair, off your elbows and you’re still pushing hard and smiling? Well I had one of those recently at Best’s Cycle, the new spin studio at Best’s Bootcamp in Embankment.


I unfortunately couldn’t make it to the launch of the bootcamp classes so hopefully I’ll try one out soon but in the meantime here’s what I thought of the studio and the Cycle class.

The studio is right next to Embankment station, perfect for those city-slickers and they have classes scheduled from 06:30 – 18:15. The early classes are great but 18:15 might be a bit too early for the after-work crew.

The reception is bright and you’re definitely welcomed with a smile by the reception staff. We were given cleats and sent down to the changing rooms. The space isn’t large but it’s spotless with posh toiletries which is always a winner with me (I know, I’m easily swayed).


The spin studio itself isn’t huge but there’s enough space for everyone to squeeze in and I quite like a small spin studio because you really feel like a team, all sweating together. Abi warmed us up after the bikes were set up and the vibe started instantly. Abi’s energy was high from the beginning and her flying legs and dancing helped hype everyone up.


The structure of the class was exactly how I like it with a combination of hill climbs, sprints, upper body work with small hand-weights, intervals and what I call ‘bike dancing’ (basically moving your body through the different positions on the bike to the beat of the music). I hate classes where you have to stand the whole time and when the beat that you’re trying to keep your legs to is impossibly fast.


Speaking of the beat, Abi’s music was spot on for me because I’m such a pop princess. Anything I can sing along to while I’m sweating helps to distract my brain from the pain. The energy in the room really helped me to push myself when I was starting to get tired and I walked out on a huge high. The 45 minute cycle home felt like a delight with such warm legs and on such a big endorphin high.


The only thing that wasn’t great was that the bikes are still a bit new and I really struggled to adjust the seat and handlebars until they decided to suddenly drop in the middle of a track and everything I had on the handlebars went flying. It also happened to someone else’s bike so I know it wasn’t just me! The air-con wasn’t working although we were promised that within the next few days it would be fixed. Without the air-con the room was a total sweat-fest to the point that even the photographer’s lens was steaming up. It was like bikram spin!

If spinning is your thing I’d highly recommend Best’s Cycle but just be prepared to sweat. A lot.

Check out the timetable here and your first class is only £10, bargain!


This week has been a big week for my running you’ll be pleased to hear. After my first session at The Running School I spent the week trying everything I could to fire up my lazy glutes on a regular basis so if you saw me walking like John Wayne last week that would be why.

I had some serious glute DOMS after hiking Scafell Pike in the Lake District over the weekend and then I followed it up a few days later with a bodyweight glute workout that burned for days afterwards. The timing wasn’t great because the following day I was back at The Running School for my second session and more glute work.

Having warmed up with some glute activation exercises it was time to learn my new running technique that I was promised would make running feel like much less effort. I can’t wait…


I was given a check list to keep running through in my mind for each short 30 second burst on the treadmill and I’ve never concentrated so hard in my life. Heels up; check, engage glutes; check, body upright; check, relax shoulders; check, move arms from the shoulders; check, the list went on.

During the session that I shared with another person we took turns on the treadmill practicing our technique at quite a fast speed, watching our bodies in the mirrors in front and to the side of us. It was so interesting seeing the other guy’s technique and also how he can run a sub 2:45 marathon and still comes in for sessions.


The session ended with some glute strengthening exercises and I was sent off with instructions to practice my new technique and practice I did.

I’ve done 2 30 minute runs based around 20-30 second sprints with 30-40 seconds of walking in between to recover and appraise how it felt. The first run was outside and I did the second on the treadmill so that I could focus a bit more.


Without the mirror I found it tricky to identify my upper body position but I kept thinking through my check list and found myself running considerably faster than I normally do. I struggle to run at 10kmh on the treadmill but yesterday I was setting it between 12kmh and 13kmh for my sprints and it felt pretty comfortable (and extremely sweaty, check out those sweaty thighs and knees)!


My legs feel a bit hungover this morning but I’m excited to go back tomorrow for my next session and see what’s next.


If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll have seen that my relationship with running is very on/off. Sometimes I only hate it a bit and other times I’d rather stick forks in my eyes than run.

At the moment, I’m edging towards the forks but I’m bullying myself into doing parkrun whenever I can on a Saturday morning and today I started a series of sessions at The Running School.

Today’s session was just to video my running form at 3 different speeds, a jog, a run and a sprint. While I was warming up the lovely Nick chatted through my goals, any niggles and what races I had coming up while completely putting me at ease. Once the videos had been taken Nick sat me down to analyse what was going on.


Surprisingly for me he said that my basic form wasn’t too bad but that there were a couple of things we could simply fix. I’m a heel-striker which I always thought was an issue but apparently it isn’t! The real issues are that I’m hitting the ground in front of my centre of gravity rather than touching down under my body and that my quads and hip flexors are over-working. These both mean that my glutes are being lazy and not firing up.


I’ve been given some balance and glute exercises to start to eliminate some of the instability that I feel when I run so I’ll be doing at least 10 of them on each leg every day before my next session at the end of the week.

Watch this space to see how I improve!


Pretty much everyone who I asked for advice on what I should do as a fitness tourist in New York told me that I had to try out SoulCycle. As a massive fan of spin classes it was of course top of my list.

The only class I could fit into the trip was 8am on our first morning in the city so joined by my sister-in-law we crept out of our apartment into the fresh morning. A brisk 20 minute walk through Soho and we soon found ourselves spotting people who’d obviously been to SoulCycle. They were easy to spot because they were the only people in leggings and sweaty vests on a chilly NYC morning, they were all smiling, oh and they were all wearing SoulCycle branded clothing. I mean, all of them. I knew it was like a cult here in NYC but really?


We went into the sweaty Soho studio to some very friendly faces at the desk, got kitted out with our shoes and water bottles and nervously watched the people coming out of the class before us dripping with sweat. The air-conditioning was a ‘little slow’ that morning which contributed to the sweat but we thought nothing of it.

After a quick turnaround clean in which the studio was sprayed with eucalyptus scent we went in and found our bikes. At this point my phone was taken away from me to be returned after the class which annoyed me slightly. I get that taking photos during the class would distract people which is why I would never dream of doing that but not even for the standard fitness blogger post-spin photo posing on the bike with the instructor? Whatever.

Grace was teaching the class and had picked a playlist made entirely of Billy Joel music. It was truly inspired. What little breath I had spare throughout the class went on singing along, my favourite thing to do during spin classes with great music.

The class was pitched perfectly with a good mix of standing up, ‘tapping back’ where you frantically try to move your bum back and forth over the seat in a standing position in time with everyone else, press ups, hovers and sprinting. I get bored in spin classes that don’t have enough variety so this suited me. We also had a long track in the middle of the class of upper body and core work with hand-weights that burned like nothing else.

Throughout the class Grace kept us going with some cheesy puns, off-bike dancing and inspiring words. She even moved bikes a few times during the class coming to sit alongside people to encourage them.

The last 3 tracks were done with the lights off and eyes closed. It was at this point that I realized why SoulCycle deserves the accolades it gets. Working to your own pace and climbing your own hill with the encouragement of the instructor in the background gives such a feeling of euphoria and focus that I pushed myself much harder than I thought I would.

All too quickly it was over and I was blinking the sweat out of my eyelashes. I’ve never sweated like that before in a spin class, which is mostly down to the AC playing up, but also showed how hard we were working. It was like doing bikram spin. Now there’s a thought…


Anyway, if you’re in New York I would highly recommend making time for a SoulCycle class but book in plenty of time (classes open for booking 7 days before) as they fill up quickly. First-timers can book a class for $20 (like I did) and get their shoes for free but expect to pay $1.50 for a bottle of water.


If you’re based in London and want a similar experience I’d suggest heading to 1Rebel and trying out a spin class from either Melissa Weldon or Tiago Silva, both of whom teach inspiring and endorphin-boosting classes with totally banging tunes.




You might have seen on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (yes, I know, I love social media…) that I run a weekly class called BodyCon at Love Your body Health Hub in Hackney, East London. So what exactly is it?

Well, BodyCon stands for ‘Body Conditioning’ so the format of the class is roughly 30 minutes of cardio work (eg. tabata, hiit, circuits, AMRAPs etc.) followed by 30 minutes of free-weight work focusing on a different body area each week. The idea is that if you come every week you will work your way round the body each month and build some muscle.


The cardio section is designed to keep your heart-rate jumping up and down and burn some fat while the weight section will increase your muscle mass and therefore increase your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories even when you’re resting. The EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) effect keeps your metabolism boosted for at least 24 hours after the class helping you to burn even more calories.


So all in all it’s a great class for whatever your goal might be. Also, you’ll get a brilliant smug feeling for working so hard early in the morning!

BodyCon also stands for ‘Body Confidence’ which is a big part of my approach to fitness so I like to make sure that the class is accessible for everyone, no matter what their level of fitness. It’s a great laugh, I get super sweaty doing the class with everyone and I love teaching it!


If you want a review from the point of view of someone who’s taken the class have a read of Project Hot Bitch’s review here.

Come and join me every Wednesday 7am-8am at Love Your Body Health Hub, I promise you won’t regret it… You can book in here



When the lovely Lucy and Rachel from the Privee Project invited me down to the launch of Aquaphysical on the hottest day in the UK for 9 years I jumped at the chance, obviously.

I mean, exercising on big inflatable boards in the Serpentine Lido with the potential for ‘accidentally’ falling into the refreshing water sounds pretty good right? Also, it gave me a good push to fit in a fartlek cycle training session (ie cycling through London from Hackney to Knightsbridge in rush hour. Shout out to the 2 taxis that nearly ended me. Nice one).

All I knew about Aquaphysical before the event was a few images on Instagram which showed what looked like floating mattresses in a swimming pool with people standing on top of them. When I turned up at the lido it was actually way cooler than that.



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